On May 1, 2023, it was reported that 14 mobile applications (apps) that provided end-to-end encrypted (E2EE) messaging services, enabled peer-to-peer (P2P) messaging, etc., were banned purportedly on the basis that they were being used by terrorists in Jammu & Kashmir (J&K). A subset of these apps are open source applications. News reports indicate that reasoned blocking orders and a pre-decisional hearing were not provided to these 14 mobile apps. Denial of these rights violates Shreya Singhal v. Union of India and Section 69A Information Technology Act, 2000 (IT Act, 2000). Moreover, ambiguity exists around the territorial scope and extent of the ban, as it is unclear if the ban is applicable and enforceable across India or just in J&K. Complete and absolute bans on mobile apps are a disproportionate restriction on the right to freedom of speech and expression. In efforts to advance transparency, IFF filed a series of Right to Information (RTI) applications with the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), and J&K police to obtain the blocking order, an exhaustive list of the banned apps, and to seek more information regarding it.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://internetfreedom.in/14-mobile-apps-banned/